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NFL DFS Showdown SZN: Chargers vs. 49ers

Welcome to this edition of the NFL DFS Showdown SZN breakdown. The aim of this post is to look at the best players to build around and constructions to focus on for the night's NFL DFS showdown contests on Draftkings. We optimize 5,000 lineups for the contest and look into the most common captains and FLEX. Likewise, we take into account the whole lineup's projection and ownership. Finally, we run the lineups through the tools found in the Theory of DFS: Advanced Players course (Buy it here) to see what combos are +EV.

Main Points:

  • Austin Ekeler has run hot with touchdown variance, but this is a spot where it's worth fading him and hoping he cools off.
  • There looks to be plenty of spread out ownership on this slate, so you won’t have to worry much about duplications outside of optimals.
  • Building for a either passing angle can lead to a lot of relative value, especially if you include guys like Brandon Aiyuk and Michael Bandy.

For conversation and game theory on the charts with updated ownership distributions as well as the top 20 predicted dupes, jump in the Paydirt discord! Free with this link:

Captain and FLEX ownership distributions

Optimization exposures in comparison with projected ownership of players for the NFL DFS showdown slate
Optimization exposures in comparison with projected ownership of players for the NFL DFS showdown slate

While Christian McCaffrey is the best captain in the optimizations, it is Jimmy G that is the most undervalued. His optimization exposures sit at 18.65% while his projected ownership is just 8.42%. Likewise for his FLEX outlook, with a 59%/36% difference in exposures and projected ownership. The underrated part of the McCaffrey trade was supercharging Jimmy’s efficiency. This is a spot to leverage where the crowd has a bias.

The most overvalued captain on the slate tonight is Austin Ekeler. Granted, I feel like I’ve written that sentence for a month straight, and he continues to kick me in the teeth. His optimization exposures at captain are just .23% while his projected ownership there is 11%. The thing here is touchdown regression, where he’s been getting an abnormally large touchdown rate from his touches. That could very well continue tonight, but the models won’t believe it until they see it.

Some other notes on the exposures and projected ownership:

  • George Kittle looks to be well overvalued here with less than a 1% exposure at captain in the optimizations.
  • Michael Bandy looks like a strong FLEX play that is being undervalued by the field.
  • The Chargers DST is about the same play as the 49ers DST but for less ownership.

Duplication projections and DFS lineups to avoid

Here are the top 20 lineups in projected dupes. To clarify, you should avoid playing these lineups in large field GPPs tonight:

Top 20 highest predicted duplications based on the largest field GPP
Top 20 highest predicted duplications based on the largest field GPP

Captain ownership in the highest projected dupes is rather spread out. Only Michael Bandy is found in 20%+ of the lineups as a captain with 10 total players used. That said, it seems like ownership is spread out enough that you don’t have to worry much about the duplications in general. Indeed, the highest dupe prediction here is just 65 which is about half of what we expect a regular slate to project for.

All of that said, there are some omissions from the dupes that are worth noting. Justin Herbert, Brandon Aiyuk, and Austin Ekeler aren’t used as captains in the lineups above. Aiyuk is an especially intriguing option with significant upside and a relatively low cost.

DFS Showdown SZN: Final Thoughts

As noted in the predicted dupes section, this looks like a pretty spread out contest. Therefore, you’ll have a lot of ways you can build that maintain win equity without having to worry much about heavy duplications. These slates are nice because you can mostly choose a direction and build towards it without having to force differentiation. 

What makes the most sense based on optimizations is focusing on the SF passing game. Jimmy is well undervalued in this spot, and Aiyuk opens up a lot in terms of natural differentiation. Possibly running out an Aiyuk captain with Jimmy and McCaffrey as a start to a lineup allows for a lot of upside from your remaining spots. 

Another route would be going with a Chargers passing attack without Austin Ekeler. Building around Palmer, Bandy, and Everett can allow you to fill in with McCaffrey/Deebo instead of Ekeler. This way you can play for a good Chargers outcome while maintaining strong relative value.

Either way, avoiding Ekeler is the name of the game on this slate. Go big or go home!

Some players that look overvalued:

  • Austin Ekeler
  • 49ers DST
  • George Kittle

Some players that look undervalued:

  • Jimmy G
  • Joshua Palmer
  • Chargers DST

Good luck and bink a unique!

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